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ASCRS 2023: Protecting against eye injuries in sports


Lori Pacheco, RN, CRNO, discussed sports-related eye injuries and how to prevent them at the 2023 ASCRS annual meeting in San Diego.

Lori Pacheco, RN, CRNO, discussed sports-related eye injuries and how to prevent them at the 2023 ASCRS annual meeting in San Diego.

Video transcript

Editor’s note: Transcript lightly edited for clarity.

Lori Pacheco, RN, CRNO:

Hi, I'm Lori Pacheco. I'm a registered nurse in ophthalmology and I work for Orbis International. I'm going to talk today about eye injuries in sports. Ninety percent of sports related eye injuries are preventable with the right protective equipment.

Now, sports injuries can be categorized as something as low as swimming per se, you know, very little risk for eye injuries. And you can move up to something with more risk, such as hockey. Basketball, which still ranges is one of the highest risk, with those elbows, possibly getting hit in the eye, you get your fingers, to baseball, of course, and then you get something that's really high risk ... that could possibly be something such as boxing. Any type of racquet sport is at high risk ... racquetball, for instance. Not only do you have the rackets and the arms and everything, but you also have the ball coming at you at a very high rate of speed.

So, these are different types of sports injuries that we see in ophthalmology. So, how do we protect against that? Good protective equipment, such as your goggles, glasses, facewear. You know, you're going to look at the risk of what you have, you know, swimming versus something like racquetball. You want to consider good eyewear, polycarbonate material. Polycarbonate material, this is shatterproof. So you don't want to be wearing your own glasses and your own eyewear, your own sunglasses. This isn't going to provide you with very much protection. You really want to think about polycarbonate lenses ... these a shatterproof lenses.

Some of the risks involved: Fractures, retinal detachments, corneal abrasions, your blowpout fractures. You have your penetrating injuries. So if you are using your own glasses, thinking that's going to give you some type of protection ... now you've just got a ball hit in the face, your glasses break, and you've got glass in your eye. So, these are all preventable injuries by using the right pair of protective equipment. And, you know, treating these injuries, this is what we do at Orbis International. We are a nonprofits, we work to prevent avoidable blindness around the world and many of our partner countries in the low- to middle-income countries, they may not have these type of resources for this type of eye protection. So you see quite a bit of eye injuries.

And this is what we do, we teach and we train and we mentor eye health professionals in how to care for patients with these injuries. So, protecting yourself is really important and just remember keeping your eyes protected.

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